An excerpt of Cursed Luck,
available exclusively in the Prophecy of Magic Collection
“Jae, you’re bleeding!” Song grunted at me.
“I’ve had worse injuries.” That may or may not have been true.
A rogue demon had gotten past Gun who was holding them off at the entrance to the cave, then it had torn through the barrier Song was trying to keep in place. I hadn’t moved out of the way of the demon’s blade fast enough and it had cut my side.
“Your shirt is dripping blood everywhere,” he countered.
“Just focus on the barrier and let me focus on this spell!” I snapped at him, not meaning to get angry at my friend, but equally doing my best to concentrate on the elaborate magic I needed to conjure.
This wasn’t the first time the King of the Dark World, Eodum, had tried to enter the Heavenly Realm.
It was the first time he had succeeded.
Now, Gun, Song, and myself, the Guardians of Luck, had one option open to us: escape to the mortal realm and hide with Luck until we could work out how the Eodum had entered this realm, and more importantly, why none of the other gods were fighting back.
That was easier said than done. The Heavenly Realm was heavily fortified, existing on a separate plane to the Dark World and the mortal realm. It was exceptionally difficult to pass between the barriers when you weren’t at a designated gate.
Or it was supposed to be.
There had been no warning that Eodum had opened the guarded gates, nor had there been any indication that the barriers had been breached.
Yet here I was, trying desperately to escape the attack.
“You might want to speed it up,” Song told me.
“Really?” I shot back. “I thought I might take a nap.”
I needed one. Calling on the magics to perform this feat wasn’t easy. My bed was a more tempting option at this point.
I brushed my hair back from my forehead. It felt as damp as my back did from the sweat. I pushed the thought from my mind. That was irrelevant now. Instead, I closed my eyes, focusing on the magic inside me, envisioning a small orb of light, splitting into two and travelling down my arms to my hands. I pressed my hands up against the wall of the cave.
With almost the last drops of energy I had, a portal opened up. “Gun!” I yelled. I felt like I was going to pass out.
Gun was the warrior. The physical guardian who was as lethal with his fists and feet as he was with a sword. He was only about fifty yards away, teetering on the edge of Song’s barrier, muscles rippling as he swung his sword again and again at the demons.
These demons were the grunts. The lowest level. The fodder that Eodum could keep throwing at us. They didn’t fight with weapons, but with brute force. They were dumb. Nothing more than disposable fighters. In small numbers they were insignificant and easy to defeat, but there were so many of them, flinging themselves and their toxic skins at the barrier; I wasn’t the only one who had worked up a sweat.
Until now, Gun’s body hadn’t stopped moving as he took down the demons. No sooner did they explode in a poof of ash and brimstone, did two more appear, trying to break through Song’s shield.
“GUN!” I bellowed. I wasn’t going to be able to hold this gate open for long.
“Coming!” he hollered back. Seconds later, there was a gust of wind as he ran past me, diving through the portal.
“You’re up, Song!” I added.
Song backed up to me, the protective shield he had put up getting closer, the demons with it. “How are you holding up?” he asked me.
“Fine.” It was a lie. I was about thirty seconds from dropping the portal door.
“Liar.” I hadn’t expected the empath to believe me. I also hadn’t expected him to grab my arm and yank us both through the portal together.
We fell onto a concrete floor on our sides. The same side as my wound. I collapsed onto the ground, unable to keep the tears my eyes. I hurt. A lot.
“We cannot stay here,” Gun said.
He was right. This was the mortal realm and they didn’t handle magic well here.
“Where is ‘here’?” Song asked, glancing up and down the street.
No, street wasn’t right. This was an alley. 𝘕𝘰𝘵 where I wanted us to be. If I wasn’t at full strength, neither was my magic. I’d been aiming for near a small town just outside of Busan, in the middle of a thicket where the earthen ground should have provided us a softer landing. I glanced up, spotting a familiar landmark. We were in New York City.
Shibal! Or, as the New Yorkers would say, fuck! “Not where I wanted us to be.”